Coerver Coaching: Review of Youth Diploma I Course

I attended the Coerver Youth Diploma Course in Arizona June 2015.   Charlie Cook was the instructor.  The same Charlie Cook who played for Chelsea and several other professional organizations.  What a wonderful guy.  He was free with his time and he allowed me to quiz him quite a bit.

This is a much different experience than a USSF course.  I hold a National Youth License (fantastic course) as well as an E (2008) and a National D (2013).  There was no assessment part of this course.   The ratio of classroom time to field time was about the same, but the Coerver coaches run all the sessions.  And, for every session, they had Coerver players present so you were able to see what youth Coerver players look like and how they respond to the activities.  That being said, they still need participation from the coaches.

I absolutely fell in love with the philosophy.  I am very picky about player evaluations and am generally unsatisfied with the level of focus paid to that aspect of soccer.  For me, the first thing I rate in a player is how do they touch the ball.  That is what I define as “technique.”  The USSF courses are big picture course – helping coaches to run a team session.  Coerver is laser-focused on ball mastery and individual skill, or what I refer to as technique (how you touch the ball).    In fact, it is the foundation of their philosophy.  Finally, I am among like-minded people.

So often I listen to coaches rate players based on obvious factors – speed and aggression.  I call those factors fool’s gold, especially at the young ages.  I appreciate those characteristics but, in my experience, those factors get nullified post-puberty if the kids are still playing.  Yes, there may be some with truly special speed, but, for the most part, evaluating players on speed and aggression pre-puberty is lazy.

So, Coerver is concerned primarily with how you touch the ball.  to help that, they believe in repetition with hundreds of different ball exercises.  You can download the app for free.  For $10, you have access to all of their moves.  If your idea of getting you players to touch the ball better is juggling, Coerver has a whole new world of ideas you need to check out.

Here is the biggest advantage Coerver has over regular coaching sessions – in every other aspect in our “pay for play” youth soccer world, your player is trained within a team construct.  Despite all of the “player development” talk that goes on, coaches are concerned with winning.  If their team is not winning, the parents go elsewhere. If the parent goes elsewhere, they lose their paycheck.  So, as a coach, while you may pride yourself on “player development,” you also have to perform for your employer (parents).  Coerver doesn’t have that problem.  Since they do not have teams, they are not bothered with team concepts in their sessions.  The focus is on the individual.  You are paying them to help your player improve ball mastery.

Here is a link to their site where they list the dates for the courses and itinerary.  Coerver Youth Diploma



7 thoughts on “Coerver Coaching: Review of Youth Diploma I Course”

  1. Great Article. I am a Coerver coach myself here in Texas and could not love our program anymore than I already do. If you liked the Youth Diploma 1 course, you have to check out the Youth Diploma 2 course. It is being offered for the 1st time ever in the US in Dallas, TX on December 5th. Very excited to see Charlie again and look forward to some more great instruction.

  2. Clint, your distinction between a focus on team and individual training is certainly an important one. However, there is another dichotomy here, and that is between technique training and skill training. I’m using the definition of skill as successful application of a technique to solve a soccer problem in the game.There is a popular school of thought, which USSF and USYS seem to be aligned with, centered around game-based training, the utility of “street soccer”, and teaching of everything within the context of the game (or a suitable surrogate for the game). This school of thought is still interested in development of the individual player, but is usually dismissive of repetitive, unopposed technique training. The focus instead is how one performs a technique under pressure within a game situation. I tend to usually agree with this school of thought. However, my club is very big on unopposed technique training, and I do coach players who could use a lot more work on their touch and ball mastery. I’m interested in your take on how effectively the Coerver program develops *skill* in addition to technique – maybe there is more to it than the Coerver exercises themselves. Also interested in whether you spend significant practice time doing unopposed technique exercises, or whether this is incorporated though “homework”.

    1. I understand your point. My definition of technique is my own, based on my experience in teaching and coaching the game. I like your definition but I don’t know that most coaches are able to communicate it very well. I just simplify — technique to me is how do you touch the ball. I know it is over-simple, but I see too many players reliant on speed and aggression. When a player starts to be able to touch the ball well, I think they will easily meet your standard.

      BTW, Coerver is a high pressure training environment. Yes, they do a lot of repetitive ball mastery and moves (unopposed), but it is always followed by intense 1v1s, 2v2, 3v3, etc. I don’t want to spell out their philosophy however.

      And, yes, I like the homework angle (especially since Coerver makes it easy with their App), but I usually spend the first 30 minutes of practice in a Coerver-Like warmup. I coach teams form U9 — U15.

      Finally, I think Sam Snow hinted to some more individualized technique training in the recent web cast about the concussions. Apparently, they are re-doing the National Youth License. Anyway, his comment about individualized technique rang out to me.

    1. I buy a lot of DVDs but nothing beats the course. If you go, you will work harder. I know it is uncomfortable some times to get out and they want you to participate, but just jump in. You will be rewarded. I never played soccer and I always jump in. I have found most soccer coaches (who were former players) have no issue with it and are excited that someone outside their sphere is interested in something they love so much. Just go to the classes and you will get more out of it because you will work more. Nothing beats doing.

  3. I took the course a few year back and enjoyed It, I also use some of the content. I think the technical skill players need is very different for each position on the field. Position specific functional training would allow player to both learn a few tricks to get them out of trouble, and learn the roles and responsibilities for the position they are playing.

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